Chapter 8 Disciplinary Actions towards Attorneys
Section 1 General Principles
An attorney will be subject to a disciplinary action who:
1. has violated Paragraph 4 of Article 24, Paragraphs 1 to 2 of Article 25, Article 28, Article 29, Article 32, Article 34, Article 38, Paragraph 1 of Article 40, Article 41, Article 42, or Articles 44 to 47 hereof;
2. has been convicted of a crime, except non-negligent crimes; or
3. who has violated Paragraph 3 of Article 21, Paragraph 5 of Article 24, Article 30, Article 31, Paragraph 2 of Article 35, Article 36, Article 39, or Article 43 hereof, or seriously violated the Attorneys' Code of Ethics.
In case any attorney commits an offense stipulated in Article 7 hereof, the Attorney Disciplinary Committee may order him to stop performing his duties, and should send the decision to suspend his/her duties to the Judicial Yuan, the Ministry of Justice, the local bar association to which the attorney under discipline is admitted and the National Bar Association.
The attorney whose legal duties are suspended in accordance with the preceding paragraph may file an application to Attorney Disciplinary Committee for resumption of legal practice, where the case which he/she is involved in has been adjudicated or he/she has been found not guilty subsequently, or the offense he/she committed is not among the ones set forth in Article 7.
If any attorney fails to resume his/her legal duties in accordance with the preceding paragraph, the decision to suspend his/her duties become invalid when the case concerned is decided; in the case of a verdict of guilty, such attorney shall be treated in accordance with Paragraph 2 of the preceding Article.
Where a local bar association reviews an attorney involved in cases of violation of the Attorneys' Code of Ethics, and makes a disposition other than referral to disciplinary proceedings or does not make any disposition toward such attorney, such attorney or the complainant shall appeal to the National Bar Association within 20 days of receipt of the disposition result.
In order to deal with the appeal mentioned in the preceding paragraph, the National Bar Association shall set up the Attorney Ethics and Disciplinary Committee, which should have one chairman, and more than one third of its members shall be impartial persons in society who are not currently practicing attorneys.
The Attorney Ethics and Disciplinary Committee dealing with the appeal mentioned in the preceding paragraph may decide to refer an attorney to disciplinary proceedings, or maintain the original disposition of or dispose or not dispose of an attorney based on its investigation results.
The number of members, qualifications, selection methods, term of office, election of the chairman, organization and operation, application procedures, resolutions, and other relevant matters of/for/relating to the committee referred to in Paragraph 2 hereof shall be determined by the National Bar Association and reported to the Ministry of Justice for reference.
Unless otherwise provided by law, attorneys who are subject to disciplinary proceedings or under the circumstances specified in Article 7 hereof shall be forwarded by the following authorities and organizations to the Attorney Ethics and Disciplinary Committee:
1. Each Prosecutors' Office and its branches ranking below the High Prosecutors' Office should do so towards the attorneys performing their duties in its respective region;
2. The local bar association should do so towards its members in accordance with the resolution of the general meeting, the member representatives meeting, or the joint meeting of the board of directors and supervisors; and
3. The National Bar Association should do so towards its individual members in accordance with the resolution of the Attorney Ethics and Disciplinary Committee.
Attorneys subject to disciplinary proceedings for handling matters specified in Paragraph 2 of Article 21 hereof, the central competent authority may, if necessary, refer such attorneys to the Attorney Ethics and Disciplinary Committee based on its scope of business for further handling.
The authorities and organizations referring an attorney to disciplinary proceedings shall submit a letter stating reasons for such referral and a copy thereof.
The letter stated in the preceding paragraph shall record the name, gender, date of birth, identity card number, domicile/residence, and facts of and reasons for referral to disciplinary proceedings, of the attorney referred to disciplinary proceedings.
In order to present the letter said in Paragraph 1 hereof, the authority or organization that refers an attorney to disciplinary proceedings may investigate the evidence ex officio, and may consult the court, the prosecutors' office or other authorities by letter. If it is necessary to inquire about the complained attorney, he/she may be notified to be present during the investigation, and a transcript of his/her statements should be made.
The members of the Attorney Disciplinary Committee shall be three judges from the High Court, three public prosecutors from the High Prosecutors' office, and seven attorneys and scholars or two impartial persons in society. The Chief Commissioner of such committee should be elected from among its members.
If not satisfied with the resolution of the Attorney Disciplinary Committee, the attorney referred to disciplinary proceedings or the authority or organization referring him/her to disciplinary proceedings may appeal to the Bar Discipline Review Committee for review of the case.
The member of the Bar Discipline Review Committee shall be three judges from the Supreme Court, three public prosecutors from the Supreme Prosecutors' office, seven attorneys and scholars or two impartial persons in society. The Chief Commissioner of such committee should be elected from among its members.
Any member of the Attorney Disciplinary Committee or the Bar Discipline Review Committee should recuse himself/herself from performing his/her duties, if he/she:
1. is the victim of the conduct for which the attorney referred to disciplinary proceedings is subject to disciplinary actions;
2. is or was the spouse, a blood relative within the eighth degree of kinship, or a relative by marriage, a parent or a relative within the fifth degree of kinship, of the attorney referred to disciplinary proceedings or the victim thereof;
3. is engaged to the attorney referred to disciplinary proceedings or the victim thereof;
4. is or was the legal representative of the attorney referred to disciplinary proceedings or the victim thereof;
5. acted as the representative, the defense attorney, or the assistant of the attorney referred to disciplinary proceedings in any administrative appeal proceeding, preparatory proceeding for an administrative appeal, or legal proceeding;
6. has participated in any proceeding relating to the decision and referral to disciplinary actions involving such disciplinary case; or
7. is suspected of impartiality in performance of his/her duties based on other facts.
Any member of the Attorney Disciplinary Committee or the Bar Discipline Review Committee who meets any of the criteria stated in the preceding paragraph but fails to recuse himself/herself, the attorney referred to disciplinary proceedings or the original authority or organization referring him/her to disciplinary proceedings may file an application for such recusal.
Where the Attorney Disciplinary Committee or the Bar Discipline Review Committee determines that any member has a reason for recusal, it should make a decision ordering him/her to recuse himself/herself ex officio.
The Attorney Disciplinary Committee or the Bar Discipline Review Committee should make a decision on the application submitted by any of its members for recusal. The member against whom such application is made shall not participate in such decision.
Where the member against whom such application is made considers it to be reasonable, he/she should recuse himself/herself immediately without waiting for such decision to be made.
The Organizational and Review Rules of the Attorney Disciplinary Committee and the Bar Discipline Review Committee shall be drafted by the Ministry of Justice by consultation with the National Bar Association and then be submitted to the Judicial Yuan, along with the Executive Yuan, for approval.